Friday, July 29, 2011

Winner indeed.
I wish they’d told me it was online.
They didn’t.
Extremely disappointed with the US Dept of State, but the yahoo for whatever it is worth.
http://span.state.gov/mar-apr2011/eng/00-span-article-winner3.html

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Startled and grateful for generosity. One friend gifts me rare music.Another celebrates my buy with a special home made treat, and mithai. What did I ever do to receive such goodness? *Lump in throat*.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Truth is shining, solid, incontrovertible.
100% proof.
There’s one pro, and matching it, the one con
Fitting, like the teeth in a jigsaw puzzle piece
So one of this, to one of that;
That's what I've always thought.
Silly me.
But there can be SO many facets to a story.
Depends on the retelling. The version.
Each side fully believes it is RIGHT.
That great injustice has been done.
Even if it means summoning up the Gods.
The forefathers.
Or questioning parentage. At hyper-volume.
But not my problem.
So beyond sympathy most non committal.
And sounding equally indignant to both parties
And a shrug or two. “It happens”
while the brokers slug it out
No holds barred
I shall remain “god-fearing, na├»ve”
Step away,
And watch.
Perhaps good enough for a life philosophy?


Monday, July 18, 2011

Cocooned in the temple by the tree grove uphill
Even as rained clothed the skies in serenity
We’d gathered early morn
For an invocation to the Lord
devotees in orderly rows, sitting by offerings of flowers and lamps,
As chants of the 1000 names rose sky-wards
in age-old prayer and supplication
each syllable ringing clear
It dawned upon me
How ever generation has its own demons, its own *kurukshetra*
Time after time, a call to arms
Battle lines drawn in the sand
Armies at the ready
A call to battle,
to defend the righteous
As also the weak
Each of us an Arjuna, battle-ready, yet
plagued by self doubt
Trapped in a quicksand: do’s, dont’s, rights, wrongs
History, modern expectations, and demands that hold us back,
Leashed
Our battles fought in tightly packed lanes.
winding by lanes crammed with turn of last century’s buildings.
As also swanky shopping malls, multiplexes and such like
Our enemy yellow-livered
just as sly, unfathomable
why, he may even be one amongst us--
and going by the record strictly
the enemy seems to be winning, hands down.
While reams of old newsprint are stacked
Splattered with undone lives
Perhaps it is time to abandon what is not working
Stop cowering behind closed doors
For how long will prayers, pleas, supplication work?
What will it take
For this Arjuna to be challenged
What call to arms?


Friday, July 15, 2011

Guru purnima, this special full-moon day
A day of gratitude and remembrance
Reverence
Not that life-debts and knowledge dues can be ever repaid
Gratitude bridging many lifetimes
First remembering the parent, and both the mothers, the giver of life and the one who shaped life,
Then the triumvirate of Gods, and the Remover of Obstacles you annote as your personal deity,
And yes, the learned sage prehistoric that you trace your lineage to, somewhat reluctantly
Wondering if anything you’ve done this lifetime,
Anything you’ve ever done, justifies a linkage, however tenuous.
Remembering the forefathers, all the names you can remember
the geneline, strong on obdurance and integrity
Which you think you’ve somewhat inherited, toned down to this world we live in,
And steel backbone, to enable you to stand tall
And the other, diplomatic, which you wish you had.
And the many many teachers who’ve lit your way.
Miss Ganguly in Class 1, and that prize for being good,
What a gesture for a child coping with life events.
All the teachers you helped you struggle with the vagaries of language
And the mysteries of science
And build an abiding interest in current affairs.
Even if chemistry formulae had to be written on walls and trembling Hindi underlined
Thinking of how 5 years of school and 2 years of the pg
Were the only place you ever learnt anything,
Even if the later lessons were real-life, grow-up-quick
Lessons that repeated over and over again, until you’d get them right
And yes, the arts, colors and tone and rhythm
Indebted forever to the one who painted new vistas
Subluminal lessons of persistence and patience and doing-over and experimentation.
Encapsulated in
Hundred-eight repetitions of the *sargam*
And now the teachers in distant lands, how generous they’ve been
A stumbling, falling into the sea of verse and prose
Amazing, but they’ve kept you afloat
Sane. In line.
So yes, a day of gratitude and respect
So many teachers, so many lifetimes
Not enough words.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today I’ll write about
Anything but the spirit of the city
Resilient survivor of shattered glass
Like a battered abuse survivor--resilient but also a partaker, silent
So, the rains would do
Now that its been raining nonstop
Rain drumming over the covered roof at work
The wind whistling as it races uphill
Rain drumming on the downstair neighbors’ awning
Sometimes fine English rain but mostly in your face rain that impinges
Gets into your eyes and brain
Makes a joke of raingear
Not to mention the flooded roads that were paved not too long ago
If you cant see it, its not there,
Rain that brings long forgotten streams and rivulets to life
Nonstop this week, all this week
The skies overcast and the birds silent
perhaps we have enough water to last
this filled-to-the-brim and spilling-over city
enough water to quench
its unending thirst

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

when will those half assed bastards learn it takes more than a few bombs to stop this city? that NOTHING can stop this city so go to your special brand of hell, you infidels.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Only in Mumbai can you walk alone at eleven in the night off the expressway trying to hail an auto past the stream of whizzing traffic, say beep-beep to the rain and admire the reflections on the road, and still get home safely and not get teased/ heckled/ hooted/ picked up. BHTB is larger than life. Like its protagonist. Quick and sharp. But I prefer the suave Reid-and-Taylor version, thank you!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

After the keys were received and accounted for
Crisp paperwork and signatures done;
cheques signed with particular flourish
The deal tied up
I was shocked-- at how tiny it seemed
As it had before
And it did, again
But getting my foot in the door, that’s what mattered.
The security of my own home, that’s what mattered
So yes, tiny square footage, all mine
Along with banyan tree and view to the horizon
But I was still shocked. And worried.
About vintage, teak. And fitting it all in.
Until I came across
apartment therapy and their cool contest
for tiny spaces, some tinier than mine
all the entries jostling for delight
but oh so elegant with texture, color and light
So to the magic worked by strangers in distant lands,
Specially Beth in Sausalito, color and style compacted
a cheery cottage so nimble you wouldn’t believe it
My everlasting gratitude

Monday, July 04, 2011

I know I’m no Rodin
Not much of a thinker
But these days most mornings
I find myself idling
With nothing in particular
Not as if I’m blue, in a funk
That idle dullness is different, a gritty quicksand
Pulling you deep into murky depths
Crashing headlong into a wall.
None of that!
But I sit around, looking at the greens
And the sky
And sunlight on the wall
And if its night, that rich red that the sky can take
The patterns of light in the neighbor’s window
And nothing much in particular
So I watch.
And then I move. Until the next time.
Of course meals get cooked
Taxes get paid
The cheque book’s balanced and
I log into work and log out
But no, these days I’m not shooting for the moon
No Don Quixote at hypothetical windmills
No grand stories of theft or crime impale polite readers on the writing list
Nor have erudite editors been bombarded by third world tales they have no interest in.
No sir!
I’m taking it inch by inch
The world can wait
Or not.